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A bunch of cheery girls

Posted: October 15, 2008 9:30 p.m.
Updated: December 17, 2008 5:00 a.m.

A group of girls from the Boys and Girls Club in Newhall practice cheer stunts Tuesday afternoon outside the clubhouse. Two former Hart High School cheerleaders volunteer two days a week and teach girls cheer routines.

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Tuesdays and Thursdays are something to cheer about for the young girls at the Newhall Boys & Girls Club.

That's when Alexandra Crowder and Katie Baker walk over from Hart High School to teach the girls cheerleading.

"I think they really look forward to it," Katie said during practice Tuesday. "Whenever we come, they ask, ‘Is it cheerleading practice today?' and they get really excited."

Alexandra and Katie were members of last year's national championship cheer squad at Hart High, but they decided to take their senior year off from cheerleading.

"It takes a lot of time, so we chose to do this instead," Alexandra said.

Twice a week, for 90 minutes per session, Alexandra and Katie volunteer their time teaching younger girls basic stunts, jumps and cheers so that some day, if they want, they can be cheerleaders.

After starting out with some stretches and some basic tumbling on Tuesday, Alexandra and Katie helped the girls do some lifts, with two girls lifting another girl high in the air and then catching her when she dropped into their arms.

Seven-year-old Peyton Washington, a second-grader at Mountainview Elementary School in Saugus, said she wasn't scared when the other girls lifted her. And Alexandra was always behind her making sure she didn't fall.

"It was cool. It wasn't really scary - it was more exciting," Peyton said. "It felt like I was flying." The goal is to teach the girls a routine that they can perform some day for friends and family.

"We want cheerleading to be a positive experience for them, and for them to develop teamwork and leadership skills," Katie said.

But the girls would look so much better performing their routines if they had some actual uniforms, Alexandra said.

"We want them to have something, even if they're just basic uniforms, so they'll look like they're a team," she said.

Katie and Alexandra are looking for donations for uniforms, or for a company that will donate uniforms.

Anyone who would like to donate can call Alexandra at (661) 714-0783. Until that big donor comes along, the cheer instructors plan to raise what they can at a bake sale from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. today in front of the Boys & Girls Club.

Amanda Liszewski, 12, said having uniforms would be fun, but she enjoys the cheer lessons whether she has a uniform or not.

"I learned how to do a handstand and flip over into a bridge, which was kind of hard for me," said Amanda, a seventh-grader at Placerita Junior High. "Once I learned how to do it I realized that if you practice a lot at something, you can do just about anything."

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